This piece is cross-posted from my old blog from last year, but in posting my previous blog, I think it wise to post my personal journey away from and back to God.  Forgive me if you're a member to both places.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

When I first realized I was gay and had my first crush, Adrienne, I was a little southern Baptist girl living in a small town insulated by the ideas of the church, handed down to me by the imposing hands of my foremothers and forefathers.  Adrienne came to hand me a revision, something that I had to cope with, something that changed my life forever, and something that I’ve forever grappled with.

I’d grown up between the four worlds of my mother and my grandparents, each of whom had starkly different value spectrums.  My mother attended church off and on when it fit the bill, but after falling in love with a woman when I was six never reconciled her faith and her beliefs.  My grandma, the pianist for the First Baptist Church where she lives, is fiercely religious.  My grandpa however was a sci-fi loving, discourse-engaging skeptic.  It’s like living with Cynthia Nixon, Tammy Faye Bakker, and Bill Maher.  My mom was conflicted on being gay and conflicted on religion.  My grandma was convicted—staunchly anti-gay, pro-religion.  My grandpa was anti-religion, anti-government, and anti-labeling.  Rightly I’d be a little confused by the time I’d hit puberty.  And when one party, likely the one with the most sense, my grandpa, passed away when I was 13 I was left with little to no comprehension of how to navigate between the four worlds I was floating in.

My first problem was when I heard a repeated message from both sides: gay kids don’t come from gay mothers.  Assuredly, I was straight and I didn’t have to worry about grappling with my sexuality.  I took on my religion as my main focus, hosting a bible study at school and going to church every Sunday.  It was after a night of reading my bible that Adrienne came to visit.

I spent hours reading my bible and praying after Adrienne left.  I knew every church I’d ever been to had condemned lesbians to hell.  I knew that’s why my mother hadn’t gone to church for years.  I knew Jesus didn’t love gay people.  I knew in my mind that if I chose to listen to my body, I’d be sent to eternal damnation, away from my Father in Heaven, away from my grandpa who’d just passed away.  I quit the bible study.  I read my bible daily, I searched for clues to why I could be a lesbian or how I could be a lesbian and ignore it, or how I could just get rid of it.  I searched for ways to make it go away.  I searched for a religion that could promise I wouldn’t be gay anymore if only I’d follow it to the letter of the law.  I learned a lot about religions.  I went to so many churches that I couldn’t count them on ten hands.  I’ve had hands laid on me, prayed for, anointed, baptized, and condemned.  Nothing made me any less a lesbian.  It wasn’t from a lack of trying.

After accepting that there was nothing I could do and entering a relationship with a girl my senior year of high school, the personal insults began.  Those who had previously loved me to death started threatening me.  I received hateful looks, dirty comments, and condoms on my tailpipe of my car, broken CDs scrawled with nasty words in my driveway at home, and multiple voicemails with condemnation on my box at home.  It was insanity.  These were Christians who professed love.  Were they so “afraid” for my soul or so afraid to be “wrong” that they would resort to threatening me to save me?  Did that ever work?

I grew up and fell in love with the idea that Christianity was a four-letter word. I had become so fed up with the way I had been treated in the past that the future without Christ was a better option.  I attended a reform synagogue for several years, and what I learned there was invaluable.  Tradition, love, and good works are the ties that bind us to each other.  I saw myself not as a Jew, but as a faith seeker.  I found myself furthering my progress toward rectification and healing.

It was Christmas of 2010 that I entered a church of my own volition upon invitation of friends for a candlelight service.  The calm and peace of the familiar hymns and carols echoed back to my soul somewhere down deep to the Tammy Faye Bakker side while the Cynthia Nixon side sat holding the candle still, keeping face.  It wasn’t long before the smudged eyeliner of Tammy Faye could be seen on the outside, running down my face.  Finally, I could feel peace in a church.  Finally, I felt home.

Christ never spoke about hellfire and brimstone for lesbians.  He spoke about acts of loving-kindness and radical love for neighbor and enemy.  He spoke about the evils of being rich and judgmental and the blessings of being merciful and meek.  My God is a loving God, who wouldn’t send His creation away because of the way she was made in His image.  My church is one that understands my need to question faith in order to have faith.  My four-year relationship with my partner is based upon the biblical principles of respect and mutual care.  It enhances my life tremendously.  When I have enough money for a wedding I hope to have a traditional church wedding.

Still, the opposition is out there.  My partner’s brother and his wife are adamantly anti-gay and we worry about every holiday and what her nieces and nephews will call me.  It breaks my heart.  Churches preaching that we are evil, sinful creatures who deserve to rot in hell, that we’re demons, that we’re going to take down America every Sunday across this country when I couldn’t even finish my dinner much less ruin the nation.  We’re all afraid of what we don’t know and what we don’t understand; we’re all also afraid to be wrong.  America is such a culture of being right.  But can we really afford to be right all of the time?

I’ve only met a few Christian lesbians, but we’re out there.  Don’t assume lesbians are all godless heathens.  We all have a lot to learn from each other if we dialog and get over those assumptions.  And if there was nothing else I learned from spending years as a non-Christian, I learned a few things from Rabbi Hillel, standing on one foot, “What is hateful to yourself, do not do unto your fellow man.  That is the whole Torah; the rest is just commentary.  Go and study it.”  And if you’re not ready yet to accept the words of others, listen to Jesus, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  All of your neighbors—gay neighbors count!

Views: 448

Comment by Constant Calliope on January 10, 2013 at 6:31pm

Safe Bet's Amy: "You are, after all, entitled to your opinions and your religious believes, no matter how self-hate filled they might be (sic)." I apologize if there's been any misunderstanding in my writing.  My religious beliefs are not included.  I do not portray them here, nor do I believe I have to defend them to anyone.  My overarching religious affiliation is that of 76% of the citizens of the United States (as of 2008, that is), Christianity, but beyond that I have not detailed my religious beliefs, nor will I.  I also am unaware of your location, but I live in a very conservative area.  I attend one of 10 gay friendly houses of worship.  We have ~50 members of our church (of over 300 members) who are LGBT.  It is not uncommon in my area.  You might live in a different area, have a different idea of what I'm talking about in terms of Christianity, or scare people off with your demeanor towards religion in the first place (which I can tell you're averse to discussing), but I can assure you that the LGBT community is just as diverse religiously as we are in race, color, gender, sexuality, romantic attraction, and familial origin.  We are not a homogenous people, speaking with one voice of religious dissonance.

JMac1949:  Words of kindness.  You're lovely, thank you.

Jonathan Wolfman:  "...I do think someone can understand and believe in Christian theology and be a lesbian and, at the same time find most, if not all, religious institutions rather awful and/all inane."  From your lips/fingers/keyboard to God's ears/eyes/computer screen... lol!  If I had your way of compactly structuring such meaning in such few words, I'd be unstoppable in nursing school!  :P

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on January 10, 2013 at 6:47pm

 Caliope   The real crime of religious institutions is the distance they tend to create/require betw the individual and the core message(s) of the very human Founders.

I would like to find more than a handful of Churches that thoroughly behaves as if it understands the radical egalitarian power of of that ancient Jew's core concern. WHAT YOU DO TO THE LEAST US US YOU DO TO ME. (Matt: 25:40). His Kingdom of God Program was never about an afterlife (IT IS ALL HERE, LAID OUT BEFORE YOU) but about what radical egalitarianism could mean to the living and to society in the lives we are living now...quite in line with Jeremiah and Isaiah, his spiritual Jewish "fathers".

 

I would say further to Amy that she appears to be suggesting that a person calling her core beliefs Christian cannot be a genuine friend to LGBT rights even if that person is a lesbian or a gay male. If that what's she's saying it's at best misinformed. The Episcopal Church here in DC announced yesterday that the National Cathedral will immediately start performing Episcopal marriage rites for same-sex couples.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on January 10, 2013 at 6:55pm

HAHAHAHAHAHA...  Whatever, CC...

I learned long ago that it's futile to try to convince an xian of anything.  (even if what they believe is self destructive, IMO).

P.S.  You just MIGHT want to back off on the condescension a bit.  You don't speak for the "We" LGBTQ community anymore than I do, but "we" both know that a HELL of a larger percentage of them agree with me than with you - it's one of those "you don't much like the people that spit on you and repeatedly tell you that you are going to burn in hell" rejection things.  We might be queer, but we ain't stupid.

Comment by Constant Calliope on January 10, 2013 at 7:06pm

Jonathan:  The afterlife is the concern of the dead.  The core concern of the living should be the living.  I agree with you wholeheartedly, and I think in the shifting of my religious beliefs, philosophical statement, and even my career motivations, that came into play.  The Jewish practice of tikkun olam, repairing the world, is a practice lost on the everyday practicing evangelical Christian.  As an ever curious philosophy and ethics student, Bentham's Utilitarianism even comes into practice humanistically when considering how to accomplish what good I can be.  We are not means to an end.  We are forever learning and growing, and the church that discovers that, the humans that learn and grow with that, are less than popular now but growing in number.  It takes a special faith, one of uncertainty, and therein lies the problem.

Comment by Safe Bet's Amy on January 10, 2013 at 7:07pm

P.P.S.  @ Jonathan:  A straight, Jewish guy telling a life long lesbian that she is misinformed about Christianity's disdain for the LGBT community is hilarious.    Both of you might be able to point out some rare exceptions, but "Christians" have been demeaning, excommunicating, exgay conversion therapy-ing and just plan murdering us for centuries.  So, no...  misinformed I ain't.  I've got the body count to prove it.    You, on the other hand,  are talking out of your ass, dude. 

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on January 10, 2013 at 7:11pm

well, i guess i'm lucky in that as a Jew i needn't be concerned abt finding christians who understand jesus as i do, as a jewish radical thoroughly a part of the Hebraic social justice continuum from Moses thtough Jeremiah, Isaish, etc,

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on January 10, 2013 at 7:16pm

Amy  you're deliberately misreading what I have said. You know, too, my long list of writing quite specifically abt the terrible history and current horrid treatment of LGBT people by Christian institutions. It's inexcuseable and you have known for a long time my sense of this.

That you read that Wiki page and thoroughly misunderstood it, btw, is astonishing.

Comment by Constant Calliope on January 10, 2013 at 7:19pm

Safe Bet's Amy:  I'm sorry if I've come across as condescending because I'm long-winded, or because I've brought up argumentation that's stylistically valid.  I know I don't speak for the entire LGBT community, and I don't profess to.  There is no such capability to do so, there is no one unified voice on any one matter on most effects (excepting fundamental rights, freedom of religion being one, marriage being another).  I also didn't profess to believe in a religion that spits on you or myself, and where you got this idea in your head is beyond this post, most likely deeply rooted in something a you would have to address on your own and beyond anyone's rationale.  You are not making any trial to convince me of anything, no attempt to reason with anything, just plainly making your own dig at me for my belief in your own idea at what you think my religion is.  I fail to see your logic, therefore you have been ineffective.  But I have not told you my religious denomination, just my overarching affiliation, and you are shadowboxing, which is kind of silly in my opinion.  And defending my religion is not required, nor is defending your lack of religion.  I understand it.  I respect it.  You can respect mine without mocking me, can't you?  Or is it beyond you or beneath you?

Comment by alsoknownas on January 10, 2013 at 7:26pm

CC,

 I endeavor to only address the writer of a post most often. I will tell you then what I see you know already.

A cloak is only that. Substance and merit lie below the outer coverings.

Wisdom does not appear as a grandiose statement or reference to an imagined contingency, any more than wisdom can be taken away by the same means.

You are very young to know that and so as I have told you before, I believe you to be an old soul.

 

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on January 10, 2013 at 7:31pm

AKA is a wise fella. He said that well better than I could.

Comment

You need to be a member of Our Salon to add comments!

Join Our Salon

NEW BLOG POSTS

Trump embarrasses Baron

Posted by Dicky Neely on November 22, 2017 at 8:06pm 0 Comments

Lump of Coal For Christmas

Posted by Robert Young on November 22, 2017 at 11:00am 4 Comments

Minority Report, part the third

Posted by Robert Young on November 22, 2017 at 10:55am 2 Comments

Two Rifles, One Window

Posted by alsoknownas on November 22, 2017 at 7:21am 9 Comments

The Song- a poem

Posted by Phyllis on November 21, 2017 at 5:51pm 8 Comments

Would It Matter?

Posted by alsoknownas on November 21, 2017 at 8:00am 20 Comments

© 2017   Created by lorianne.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service